Kenyon College

Ville Matias Lampi


Here Is An Empty Sky, 2013.

Installation: 2 HD digital video loops, sand. size variable.

 “Inventing writing, then, man took a further step away from the world. Texts do not mean the world, but the images which they tear up. To decipher texts is to find out what images they refer to. The purpose of texts is to explain images, to transcode image elements and ideas into concepts.” 

— Vilém Flusser, Towards a Philosophy of Photography 


The way in which we remember our past experiences relies heavily on narratives and images we associate with those dear moments. Nowadays, these mental illustrations are very often replaced by recordings of these moments: we take photographs in order to remember extraordinary places, record home videos at family events and write diary entries about daily life. With the increasing amount of data we produce every day, it is becoming less clear what it is that we experience when we remember something. Most of my own life has been thoroughly documented in home videos, carefully captured, edited and archived by my father, a passionate amateur videographer. I often question my own memories: can they truly be as vivid and specific as they are or are they just second-hand recreations of the hours of taped recordings I have watched over and over again?

For me, the medium of video forms the perfect union between text, images and sounds. I always start with text, writing about my personal experiences as if to remember them in a certain way. I constantly collect snippets of language—quotes, poems, emails and articles—which I borrow and incorporate into my own writing. For me, video is poetry. It is a way to bring together things we do not usually see together, a way of creating visual metaphors. I digitally modify images and sounds from our mundane experiences to offer a different view to the objects, feelings and actions we experience daily. But most of all, video art is poetry because it enables me to make my personal experiences and philosophical musings available to other people.

Here Is An Empty Sky is a videographic meditation about the nature of remembering in today’s world. In its core, it is a narrative about the specific images and stories related to a past relationship, altered through the use of stringent forms for editing text and modifying videos. Nothing in the installation is what it seems: the moving images lie in the world between still photography and video while the text is a collection of phrases that were not originally intended to be presented together. The videos are brought into three-dimensional space, turning them into physical objects that can only be experienced in their space, not on a screen or in photographs. 

As we sieve through extraordinary amounts of text, images and data every day, all those recorded snippets of information must change the way we see reality. We seem to be outsourcing our memories, recreating our most cherished moments as superficial collections of pixels, characters and bytes.

— Ville Matias Lampi ‘13

Ville Matias Lampi
Click to view the gallery

Text Credits

Quoted Text
“The act of writing defies all distance.”
Edmond Jabès, The Little Book of Unsuspected Subversion, trans. Rosmarie Waldrop, Stanford University Press, 1996, p. 49

Appropriated Found Text Placed into Narration
“Here is an empty sky.”
“All we have is words.”
“Pictures are for people with a bad memory.”

Sound Credits

Adrian Kwong

Instrumental Sound Samples 
Elena Anatchkova

Remixed Sound Samples Licensed Under

Creative Commons Attribution License
“marina_normalized” by user “afterguard” (41486)
“Sea inside a room” by user “Akoustikos” (137162)
“Sound of bells (peal)” by user “urupin” (157689)
downloaded from

Licensed under Creative Commons 0 License
“Ocean and Fog Horn” by user “shepardr” (128093)




Learn about the artwork of Lindsay Lynch, one of t...

Learn about the artwork of Edith Willey, one of th...

Learn about the artwork of Ferrell Garramone, one ...